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Benefits of Forest School

Forest School benefits children from Early Years & Primary right up to adulthood. But what actually is the impact of regular child-led outdoor play and learning & spending time in nature?

The benefits are many and far-reaching, but also difficult to measure. Below we list some, but by no means all, of the benefits of Forest School on various aspects of a person’s life or development.

Scroll down to find out more about evaluating work outdoors.

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Healthier bodies

• increased frequency of physical exercise
• a challenging environment that helps to develop motor skills
• fresh open air allows dispersal of viruses
• learning to prepare and cook healthy food


Healthier minds

• space and resources are naturally available, allowing individuals or groups to investigate and problem solve
• an opportunity to be sociable and also to have time alone
• time to just be, where individuals can relax and explore interests
• personal motivation
• a willingness to try new tasks
• the ability to persist at tasks increases

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Healthier environment

• an understanding & appreciation of the natural environment through experience
• knowledge of how systems interlink, and how we affect our surroundings
• spending time in the environment and using it to play and learn effects us at a deep level
• this connection with nature opens us up to care more for the environment as adults


Healthier future

• many of the skills that develop as a result of spending time at a Forest School are essential life skills that in time will benefit the economy
• children develop determination to complete tasks and manage risks
• they learn to work together as a team communicating effectively
• the environment stimulates the use of descriptive language, mathematical problem solving, calculating and taking acceptable risks, working towards personal reward

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Healthier communities

• Forest Schools can offer the opportunity to involve parents & the wider community in their development & running
• families are more likely to access woodland spaces & spend time playing in and enjoying the outdoors if they have been involved with the development
• often the whole school shifts its approach to outdoor learning as staff have the opportunity to observe children in a different setting
• this has a knock-on effect as techniques can be applied across other learning

For more on the benefits of spending time outdoors visit

FS research & reports

Forest School is brilliant outdoor play & learning for Early Years & Primary age children - it develops skills, confidence, well being & nature connection. And here's (some of) the proof!

We've gathered together work by academics & professionals looking into the quantitative and qualitative benefits of Forest School.

The evidence continues to grow & new research continues to be undertaken. This is by no means an exhaustive list. Do contact us if you know of more to add:

These reports & research are, as much as possible, arranged in chronological order, most recent at the top.

Read More about FS research & reports

Nature connection & nature deficit

A comprehensive reference section on Nature Deficit Disorder and the importance of nature connection - one of the key components of Forest School - with research & reports, guides & articles, video and more.

Research, reports, news items etc, are, as much as possible, arranged in chronological order, most recent at the top

Read More about Nature connection & nature deficit

Research, reports: health, wellbeing

Evidence for the benefits to children of outdoor play and learning & spending time in nature.

Arranged in chronological order, most recent at the top

Read More about Research, reports: health, wellbeing


The ability to evaluate your project or your practice, strengths, weaknesses, success and challenges, is crucial for future development, as well as reporting back to stakeholders and funders.

Read More about Evaluation
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